Forces zero in on Gurdaspur over suspicious activity

Forces zero in on Gurdaspur over suspicious activity

Security agencies on Wednesday evening cordoned off vast stretches of sugarcane fields near the Tibri cantonment in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, about 35-km from terror-hit Pathankot.

The move came following inputs about suspicious movement of some persons, suspected to be terrorists, carrying weapons and in combat fatigue.

The police and security agencies sprung into action immediately to avoid a repeat of the Pathankot-like strike. The search operation in the fields was underway.

It was said some farmers noticed the suspicious movement in the fields. They claimed the suspects, at least two in number, were armed and in military fatigue. They reportedly went into hiding when challenged by the farmers.

The unidentified men were wearing black glasses, civilian sources said.

The police deployed their personnel quickly and began an aggressive manhunt as soon as the alarm was raised.

Authorities were concerned over the development as the Punjab Police’s intelligence had alerted ahead of the Pathankot attack that 15 terrorists might have entered the state from Pakistan in the last week of December.

Meanwhile, even as the combing operation is yet to be called off, there are leads that the militants from Pakistan entered through the Bamiyal sector in Punjab. Sources said the investigating agencies managed to trace the terrorists’  footprints with the marking of a popular shoe brand in Pakistan.

The BSF, however, according to sources, is yet to pinpoint any breach on the Punjab border, which throws up the possibility of an alternative route or even a tunnel from across the border which the militants took to enter Punjab.

The preparedness of the slain terrorists also came to the fore after the military operation concluded on Tuesday. From energy drinks, chocolates, dry fruits, biscuits and carbohydrate-rich food, the militants were equipped with all. The bodies of some terrorists were also booby-trapped with heavy explosives to inflict mass casualties even after their deaths. Their arsenal carried ‘made in Pakistan’ marks.

The focus of the probe by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) on the role of Gurdaspur SP Salwinder Singh who claimed to have been abducted and later freed by the terrorists a day before they stormed the airbase. The NIA team detained the SP and reconstructed the entire scene of the crime on Wednesday. The NIA is finding the version of the SP ‘unreliable’ to an extent even as the SP on Wednesday said it was his timely information to the police that had altered security agencies.

 

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